Apple Photos (with iCloud) + amateur photography + small SSD on the MacBook. How to make this work?

Pupi

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 12, 2015
305
458
Hi everyone.

Apologies if this has been asked over and over.

My MacBook Pro has a 256GB SSD. That's not too much, but of course, it could be worse. I have iCloud 2TB.

I never have too much local space available but I try to have at least enough for a photo import from a camera (64GB). However, after that, I'm at the mercy of the software to decide how much storage to release after uploading the original files to iCloud, and I'm not even certain I will have room again for another SD card dump. Since I can't control how much free storage I want Photos to aim to release. Isn't that so?

So is there a way I could make this work? Basically I guess I just want it to always delete local original files (unless favourited) after uploading them to iCloud, and only keep display versions on the Mac. Even if storage isn't that low, because I need quite a bit of space available if I want to import more photos.

It has crossed my mind to get a cheap used desktop Mac with large storage so that the MacBook never imports photos directly and only downloads them from iCloud...

Right now I'm just putting content from cameras on random folders on external hard drives and such, it's a mess and I can barely make good used of my photos and videos and I'm not utilizing iCloud to its full extent.
 

smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,625
2,271
Silicon Valley
Because I don’t use the MacBook Pro as stationary so I can imagine there would be a lot of sync issues.
You could just carry the external drive with you. A USB 3.1 gen2 drive is pretty affordable and is so light and tiny that it's not hard to keep it with your MBP.


If you have an older MBP, you don't even need a USB 3.1 gen2. A regular USB 3 SSD costs even less.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,978
8,206
CT
Because I don’t use the MacBook Pro as stationary so I can imagine there would be a lot of sync issues.
You mount the drive when you want to use it. It will sync once you tell it too.
 

Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 68020
Sep 26, 2017
2,295
8,170
Tanagra
So long as you set up Photos and the Mac to let iCloud manage your photo library storage, you shouldn’t have to worry. Your Mac will still upload new files to iCloud, and it will still use your available HDD space until you need more of it. On your next import, of space is limited, your previous original import(s) will be reduced to “optimized” versions to make room for new originals. The system is designed to manage the storage for you, so no manual settings should be necessary.
 

gwerhart0800

macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2008
444
16
Loveland, CO
So long as you set up Photos and the Mac to let iCloud manage your photo library storage, you shouldn’t have to worry.
I want to second this. I have been trying to find a suitable solution for managing my photos and providing access to all my devices (iMac, MBP, MBA, iPads, iPhones, etc.) I finally settled on using the Photos app and iCloud. Basically, when you import photos into the Photos app, they will be present on the importing device for a period of time. (Assuming that you turned on Optimize Storage option under the iCloud config for Photos.) If you have the optimize option turned on, then the photos are uploaded to iCloud and preview images are generated and downloaded to all the devices that are configured to connect to iCloud photos. On the importing device, once the photo files are no longer being changed, the edits are uploaded and the photo is replaced on the device with a lower resolution preview. If you want to edit the photo, the app will download the full res version and allow you to edit.

All changes made on any device that is connected and configured with the optimized storage will be updated with new preview image.

I tried to make the Adobe Creative Cloud work for me, but it wanted to download all full res photos to all connected devices. I could not figure out a way to make this work as the iCloud Photos interface works.

The downside to this is that edits from 3rd party applications have issues. Specifically, iCloud can only save the last 3rd party changes and it will negate changes made by previous 3rd party apps. In some cases, original raw images will be converted to TIFFs for editing in 3rd party apps and you may find that you photos have "forked" into alternate versions.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 68020
Sep 26, 2017
2,295
8,170
Tanagra
Yes, by far Apple’s solution is the easiest and smoothest that I have tried. You run into issues when you try to leave Apples ecosystem, but that is the cost of convenience and good vertical integration. There are other options out there, but they will create more work. If you want it to be simple, just use Photos and iCloud, and if space is an issue, use the Optimized storage setting.
 
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